Chapter Sixty-Six

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By the next morning, Clara was feeling much better. She knew she had taken a risk and worn herself out these last few days. She must be more careful. There was too much at stake.

She traveled with Mr. Brummell and Rosalyn in the carriage. At the appropriate moment, she looked out, expecting to see Benjamin, but she did not. His usual chair in the window of White's was left empty. She was prepared to put on a smile and act unconcerned. Clara turned to Mr. Brummell.

"I know, no more than you. Your husband can be a secretive man, even to me."

"I understand," Clara said, sitting back in the carriage. She's spent so many days being mad at Benjamin she did not know how she would react upon seeing him again, but she guessed fate was giving them a reprieve.

"I will see what I can discover. If I learn anything, I will pass it on to you. I promise," Mr. Brummell told Clara.

Clara nodded, and Mr. Brummell left the women to carry out their day. He learned nothing of Benjamin's whereabouts. He knew he should not be concerned. Benjamin often would disappear for days at a time when on a mission, he just hated thinking that Benjamin would be called away now of all times, with the ball just a few days away.

He checked on Clara's gown and it was coming along splendidly. He checked on his own attire and discovered that Benjamin had his clothes sent to his flat in London. Mr. Brummell hoped this meant he still planned to attend.

Mr. Brummell stopped at the hotel to find Clara excited to announce her brother had arrived. Lord Richard Bentley rose to greet him.

"Thank you for taking such good care of my sister. I owe you a great debt."

"Nonsense, I've quite enjoyed our time together. Time I am guessing is coming to an end, now that you are here?"

"I see no reason you cannot keep your acquaintance with my sister, even though I am here to take back my role as her guardian."

"Oh Richard, what will we do about you and the ball?" Clara asked.

"I have been sent an invitation, which I have already accepted. I'm fully prepared to watch over you for the evening freeing Mr. Brummell here to find much more enjoyable pursuits should he wish it."

"Hard to imagine someone's company being more enjoyable than your sister's," Mr. Brummell admitted.

"Don't let Mr. McAllister hear you say that. He's liable to see you as a threat," Lord Bentley told him.

This gave Mr. Brummell a hardy chuckle. "I sincerely doubt it. He knows he has nothing to fear from me."

"Have you heard from him?" Clara asked.

"I fear not. He must be on a mission as he has not been seen by anyone all day. However, this is not an unusual circumstance. I'm sure he'll turn up again. He has already seen fit to have his clothes for the ball sent to his flat. I'm certain it is his intention to be there."

"Intention?" Richard said frowning. "He best do better than intend if he plans to keep the Queen happy and secure my sister's happiness as well.

"Nothing will keep him from Clara. He wants this as badly as she does," Mr. Brummell supplied.

Clara didn't not like the nervous feeling in her stomach. She had no reason to believe anything was wrong but it was a feeling she could not shake.

"I will leave you to catch up with your brother. If Mr. McAllister gets in touch with me, I promise to send word."

"Thank you, Mr. Brummell."

Mr. Brummell nodded and left.

"Come pack your things. We are going to my flat in London. I don't think it right you staying here on your own."

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